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'I think it's the future'; Electric vehicles in Wisconsin getting help on the road

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Posted at 5:12 PM, Jun 05, 2024

MANITOWOC (NBC 26) — Electrical vehicles may be the next big thing in transportation, but distance is still a concern for many drivers. Wisconsin is hoping to alleviate concerns with a new investment.

  • Wisconsin to add 53 more charging stations after $78 million award.
  • Manitowoc will get a new charging station at the Shell gas station on 41st Street.
  • Paul Krenger is an EV driver in Wisconsin and calls "range anxiety" a terrible thing.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story.)

The state is trying to fix one big problem, right here in town.

Paul Krenger has driven an electric vehicle for a few years.

"I think it's the future,” says Krenger. There's no doubt about it in my mind."

Although he's used to charging his car he says chargers can be sparse in rural areas.

"The range anxiety is real,” said Krenger.

That is the fear of not having enough power to reach your destination.

Paul says he's had a few close calls.

"We got here with 1 percent left and it was cold, it was like 0 degrees out,” Krenger recalls. "I just felt really vulnerable for my family, being responsible for them."

But there's some change in Wisconsin.

Under the National Electric Vehicles Infrastructure Program, our state's been awarded $78 million to make transit easier for electric vehicle drivers.

Wisconsin Department of Transportation officer Kaleb Vander Wiele says the first step is to place 53 new charging stations along major highways.

He says one will be right here at the Shell gas station in Manitowoc.

"We're looking at benefits for tourism,” says Vander Wiele. "It opens up those communities for some travelers from outside of these communities to have a place to charge."

The DOT says the stations will be located every 50 miles for drivers like Paul.

"50 miles is great! 50 miles is great,” Krenger says. “Even 100 miles would be awesome."

All the charging stations will be put in place by early 2025. DOT numbers show 23,000 EV drivers in Wisconsin that may soon have less range anxiety.